Max Savage is about as immersed in the London Broncos and rugby league as you can possibly be – coming through Medway Dragons, Max now plays in the Broncos academy, works in the Broncos community department, as well as with the London Rugby League Foundation, and Sky Try.
How did he originally get involved in the sport?
“My older brother, Joe Keyes, played the game.
“He started when he was about nine years old and we used to play together in the garden. I must have been about six and, as there were no clubs around at the time, we made do. We played rugby union for a year and then when a club started, which was Kent Ravens, we joined them and started playing league.
“John Keyes was the biggest influence on Joe and I, as he was a big rugby league fan. Because of him Joe is now playing at Bradford Bulls (having previously played for the Broncos) and I’m here in the academy.”
What does his work with Community Broncos/Sky Try and the London Rugby League Foundation involve?
“I go to schools in the local area and work with the children. We take initiatives from the Broncos, Sky Try and the London Rugby League Foundation in to the schools and teach rugby league to get them involved with the game, and to introduce them to the sport in London.
“Sky Try is a charity that was started by the London Rugby League Foundation and is sponsored by the Royal Foundation, which involves members of the Royal Family, like Prince Harry, for example. We go in to schools all over London and the South East in places like Newham, Croydon and Medway to help set up junior amateur league clubs.
“That’s how I started in the game on the journey through to now being here at London Broncos. I played at a few small clubs, but then I came through Medway Dragons.
“Now we try to teach primary and secondary school kids the game to promote it and maybe bring through some more in the same way that I came through the system. The issue is educating the children in the league, as when we mention rugby they automatically think of rugby union.”
So how can we continue to grow the game in the south of the country?
“That’s a really hard question, to be honest with you.
“I don’t want to say we need more teams, but I think the more young children – or the next generation of sports fans – play the game here, the more aware of it they will become. That way they can pass it down to their children and their children’s children.”